Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the implementation of diverse methods of pest controls, paired with monitoring to reduce unnecessary pesticide applications.
In IPM, pesticides are used in combination with other crop management approaches to minimize the effects of pests while supporting a profitable system that has negligible negative effects. NIFA administers and provides leadership for a broad portfolio of IPM programs. The concept of IPM was hatched in the 1970 through the environmental movement that resulted in part from the purported pesticide use abuses that were described in Rachel Carsons 1962 book, Silent Spring. Integrated Pest Management allows for a win-win situation for all involved. NIFA administers and provides leadership for a broad portfolio of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs.
The goals of the program are at the heart of the National IPM Roadmap, a document adopted in 2004 to provide definition to an expanding universe of applications for IPM. The fundamental principles expressed in the National IPM Roadmap are:
- to improve the economic benefits related to the adoption of IPM practices,
- to reduce potential human health risks from pests and the use of pest management practices, and
- to reduce unreasonable adverse environmental effects from pests and the use of pest management practices.
The National IPM Roadmap guides all IPM programs administered by the Federal Government. At the heart of this debate is a concern that pesticide users do not adequately protect the food supply, the environment, and farm workers from unintended adverse effects. Meanwhile, pesticide users face increasing pest resistance to pesticides, the loss of economical pest control products due to regulatory actions and market forces, and higher costs of new reduced risk pesticides.
NIFA partners with researchers and educators in the Land-Grant University System and the private sector to develop and implement new ways to address these complex pest management issues. NIFA provides funding to support extension IPM implementation and pesticide applicator safety programs in 50 states and six territories, the Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4), four regional IPM centers, and numerous grants programs. Each of these investments contributes to the development of safe and effective IPM systems that increase farm profitability, reduce environmental and human health risks, and protect natural resources.
There are several key benefits to this program for agricultural producers, the environment, pest management professionals & organizations, and the general public. Some of these benefits include:
- Reduction in producer's economic risk by the promotion of low-cost and carefully targeted pest management practices
- Reduction of environmental risk associated with pest management by encouraging the adoption of more ecologically benign control tactics
- Augmentation of private research development efforts to develop lower-risk pest control tactics and expand the use of existing low-risk tactics to specialty markets
- Reduction of risk to the public by promoting responsible pest management in public spaces including schools, recreational facilities, and playgrounds
- Assurance of safe, reliable, low-cost pest control through improved pest management